Tuesday, July 30, 2019

One Hour Wargame Napoleonic Rules Mods

     A goodly number of people have inquired about these rules and, rather than emailing them out individually, I figured it would be easier to cut and paste them onto the blog.

     Be aware that this is still VERY MUCH A WORK IN PROGRESS.  As such there are lots of gaps and a whole bunch of things missing (like charts and diagrams and sample army lists). Please feel free to treat this as a toolkit or idea platform. As I generate charts, diagrams, examples of play and further definitions they will be posted. These will be in a different color text to catch your eye!

Turn Sequence

At the beginning of play players will roll off to see who goes first unless the scenario dictates who the Attacker is. Play is alternate with one side completing all of their actions before turning the initiative over to the other player.

Player A conducts Charge moves               
                                                                  Player B may make reaction to the two inch rule

Player A conducts all other movement 
                                                                   Player B may make reaction to the two inch rule

Player A  conducts fire (cannons, then musketry)   
                                                                  Player B assess reaction to new Fatigue Points

Player A conducts melee (including break-through charges and retirements)
                                                                 Player B assess reaction to new Fatigue Points

Player B becomes new Active player 


Generals       15"  (move after all other movement has taken place)
Infantry:   Square 1”,   Line 4”,   Column 6”,   Skirmish 8”
Cavalry:      12”
Artillery:    Foot    6”,    Horse 12”,    Prolong 1” 

Facing/formation change costs ¼ move for French style units
Older “Prussian” style drill a ½ move. 
Foot Artillery is ½ per action (move/unlimber/limber). 
Horse gun deduct ¼ move for such actions. 
Passage of Lines deducts one-half move from the stationary unit's movement allowance. 
Skirmishers may pass through, and be passed through by, all friendly troops. 
Infantry may retire half speed while continuing to face the enemy. 
Skirmishers must try to stay 4” away from formed troops, retiring if approached by enemy formed units unless they are holding the edge of a BUA, a linear obstacle or cover. 
Skirmishers may only charge other skirmishers or Exhausted units 


Woods – Skirmishers may enter and function without penalty. Formed troops may enter but suffer an additional minus one to all shooting and melee scores.

Towns/BUA – Only Infantry and Skirmishers may end their turn in. Skirmishers may enter and function without penalty. Formed troops may enter but suffer an additional minus one to all shooting and melee scores on all subsequent turns.

Marsh/Lakes – Impassable to all

Rivers – May only be crossed via bridges and Fords (GM and FCA abandon all hope)

Roads – Add 3” to movement if entire move on road, bonus does not apply to charging. 

Charge Moves

No additional movement
Charging unit may turn up to 45 degrees at start of charge.
Only one attacking unit may engage any given defending unit per turn
A unit may form close order from skirmish order as the beginning of a charge move but this allows the target of the declared charge to change formation as well (infantry may form square or evade; gunners may choose to retire into a square or cover)
Cavalry may “flow around” a square to attack an enemy unit behind it but will take fire (see The Two Inch Rule) if the square chooses to shoot.
Cavalry may issue a "charge threat" to any enemy unit that is a legitimate target . That unit and any units within two inches of the target unit and twelve inches of the cavalry unit must respond (infantry may form square)


Roll a D6 and consult modifiers.
The modified score is the number of Fatigue Points that the target unit takes

Field of Fire – 45 degrees from perpendicular to the center of the front facing of the unit. 
Units in BUA have 360 degree field of fire. 

Musket Range – measured from the center of the firing unit to the nearest part of the target
Line and Skirmishers 12”
Column 8”
Square 2”.
Musket Modifiers
Skirmishers -2 (if shooting or being shot at)
Column or Square -2
Moving -1
Targets in woods or towns suffer half casualties (round up).
Shooting from enfilade +1
Shooting target rear +2

Artillery Range
Foot: Close = 0-12” Medium = 12-24” Long = 24-48”
Horse: Close 0-12” Medium12-18”
Artillery Modifiers
Skirmish target -2
Foot Guns Close -1 Medium -2 Long -3.
Horse Guns Close -0 Medium -1
Shooting from enfilade +1
Shooting target rear +2.


Cavalry roll a D6 and consult modifiers. The result is the number of hits on the target unit
Cav vs Skirmishers +3
Cavalry vs Square +0
otherwise cavalry -+2

Infantry roll 1d6 Line or Column formation no modifiers.
Skirmishers -2 in melee
Square +2 vs Cavalry

Infantry occupying a terrain feature or a BUA, or cavalry in all melee circumstances suffer ½ assessed casualties (round up)

Units engaged in flank or rear suffer double casualties

Infantry who are subject to a "charge threat" from cavalry may opt to remain in line or column and must declare that this is their choice when the treat is given. In this case, when the cavalry charge home both sides will conduct a melee attack. If the infantry inflict more Fatigue Points on the cavalry than they receive they have won and the cavalry must retire (this assumes point-blank fire has deterred the cavalry from pressing home),  in any other circumstances the infantry unit is destroyed (regardless of the infantry's current Fatigue Points) and the cavalry may make a break-through charge of six inches.
Skirmishers and Artillery more than Two Inches from the enemy may choose to Fire and Evade; -3 on fire effect and full move away from charge (gunners may seek shelter inside a square instead). Suffer 1 Fatigue Point each time they evade. 
Horse Artillery may Fire and Evade but lose ¼ of their movement while limbering up, if caught in this first quarter of the enemy's move they are destroyed.

If an Infantry charge is successful it may take the target unit's position. Otherwise it remains at the point of contact in the facing and formation that it was in at the beginning of combat.

If a Cavalry charge is successful the unit may take position of the defending unit, or conduct a break through charge of up to 6”, or retire 12”.

After executing a melee, if the attacking units has not broken the defender, the attacker will retire. 
In the case of Infantry they will retire six inches facing the enemy they had just charged. 
In the case of an Infantry column having charged they will retreat two inches and be formed into a line facing their target. 
Cavalry will retire a full normal move and end facing the enemy.

NOTE: In most circumstances the first charge will not break the enemy unit (unless you have properly prepared your target by firing upon it). For infantry this simulates a very close firefight rather than a hand-to-hand fight. Cavalry melees bounce back and forth with both sides wearing down gradually, reserves and preparatory fire are crucial!

Special Rule for Attacking BUA's
Only Infantry can attack a Built Up Area. 
When the attacking unit strikes the defending unit it will inflict Fatigue Points; if the number of Fatigue Points inflicted on the defender is less than or equal to two the attacking unit will retire (unless they have broken the defender). If the Attacker has succeeded in generating three or more Fatigue Points they will have gained a lodgement in the near edge of the BUA. 
In the Defender's turn they will be subject to attack by the defender. If the defender scores three or more Fatigue Points on the attacker they will have ejected them from the BUA, the retreating unit will fall back two inches outside the BUA on the side they had entered on, facing the BUA they had been fighting over.


Units break when they receive a number of fatigue points based on situation, national performance, and condition; an average unit has a base of 15. 
At about 50% of Break Point the unit becomes “Tired”, it suffers -1 in melee and shooting. 
At about 75% it becomes “Exhausted”, it suffers a -2 to all die rolls and infantry may not move closer to the enemy, cavalry may still charge but suffer a -2 in addition to any other modifiers that apply.

A unit in dire straits may declare “Save Yourselves”. It suffers 2 Fatigue Points. It then makes a double move away from the enemy. Units using this move must end farther away from all enemy units than they were before they ran. Until this unit is rallied it counts as broken for higher formation morale purposes. The unit must stand for a full turn to reorganize. If contacted during the turn after it fled, or or during the turn spent reorganizing, the unit is destroyed. After reorganizing it may be placed in any legal formation facing in any direction at the location that it had retreated to.

Higher Formation Morale is a predetermined percentage of the Break Points of all the elements in a brigade/division/corps. 
75% rule applies to higher morale as well. 
These values can be adjusted to reflect the enthusiasm and/or stubbornness of certain troops.

Command and Orders

Brigades are given orders by their division. 
Divisions are given orders by their corps. 
Corps are given orders by the army.

Orders are three types: Attack, Engage, Hold.

Attack orders involve a designated target (“Capture that hill”) and all units so ordered must proceed directly to their target (minimum1/2 movement each turn) and seek to take control of target by whatever means commander thinks best.

Engage involve a designated target and all so ordered units must proceed to their target(minimum ½ movement until in firing range) and then deliver as much fire as possible onto enemy units to clear target. 

Hold order involve a designated target which is to be held by commander by whatever means are possible. 

Changing orders Must move through chain of command (both up and down) taking 1 round at each level.

Command Radius
Brigadier 4”, Divisional General 6”, Corps General 10”, Army General 14”. Units may “pass orders” to an adjoining unit within their formation up to 2” to extend command radius. Units out of command must continue previous orders, but move no more than ½ speed.
Elements of a command may be detailed to hold a specific terrain feature. If dislodged and not destroyed they will attempt to attack to recapture the feature.

The Two Inch Rule(s)

To simplify things we have established the “Two Inch Rule”. This dictates that;

Any unit passing within two inches of an enemy square is considered to interacting with it and can be fired upon by the square at that time. 

Units traversing the front of an enemy unit within two inches can be subjected to fire by that unit. Or be charged (out of sequence) by that unit if it is a unit that has no fire factor.

To be allowed to fire through a gap the firing unit must have a gap of two inches wide between friendly units; one inch either side of the line drawn from the firing unit's center to the nearest part of the target.

Units occupying cover must have two inches between the right hand front edges of their bases or they do not enjoy the “shooting at skirmishers” -2 adjustment to the enemy's die roll.

Units skirmishing in the open must have two inches between the right hand front edges of their bases or they do not enjoy the “shooting at skirmishers” -2 adjustment to the enemy's die roll.

A skirmishing unit must occupy at least eight inches of frontage; for each two inches less than that they suffer an additional minus one to the their shooting and melee die roll.

Infantry attacking in column that do not defeat their enemy will retreat two inches and form into line facing the enemy unit they had just fought.

Cavalry may issue a “Charge Threat” to an enemy unit, this threat affects units that are within two inches of the target and who could be a legitimate target of the charging unit.

Skirmishers and Artillerymen must be more than two inches from charging enemy units to Fire & Evade safely.

Special Rules

Impetuous, these troops must always pursue any fleeing opponent

Stubborn, troops maintain their fire discipline even when tired and do not suffer the -1 to shooting or melee for being tired

Pyrrhic, these troops do not rout or surrender, once they receive 24 Fatigue Points they are assumed to have died to the last man

En Trailleur (entire unit may disperse and act as skirmishers, once so dispersed they may not reform)

Heavy Cavalry, reroll all “1s” in Melee
Rifles  These troops only take a -1 when shooting at dispersed targets


  1. I think that I have the term used "mass Debande" wrong it was a relic of Republican armies where the whole unit would just spread out into skirmish order but I can't seem to locate my reference right now, somebody help please!

  2. According to a little research that I just did, Nafziger in imperial bayonets refers to this as "trailleurs en grande bande" or as a battalion advancing "en trailleur". French 16th light did so at Jena with their third battalion while the 1st and 2nd remained formed

  3. JoeD Thanks, I will amend the entry!